Thursday, October 9, 2008

What do You Mean You Want to Vote?

Apparently it's a standard campaign tactic in the Republican party to do their damndest to get Democratic voters -- especially poor or brown voters -- off the rolls by Election Day. Hey, if you can't win on the issues, keep the other side from turning out the vote. Whatever works, right?

The linked article mentions several tactics, including voter caging -- sending an official mailing to a registered voter's address with "Do Not Forward" on it, and then striking from the rolls anyone whose mailing is returned. And since poor or brown people tend to have less stable housing, spot-checking for addresses is more likely to catch them than rich or white people. Although rich, white Democrats are targetted too -- caging was done in Florida to thousands of Democratic voters who live there during the cold (up north) half of the year and register in Florida to vote because voting is in, like, November. The "Do Not Forward" mailer was sent out in the summer, when the Florida snowbirds count on having mail forwarded to their summer homes up north. Whoops -- all of you, out of the voter pool!

This is illegal, by the way, but Republicans keep doing it. Kris Kobach, chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, actually bragged about doing it in an e-mail:

"To date, the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years!"

He's actually proud that his state's Republican party has stepped up its efforts to do something illegal, something the party signed consent decrees agreeing not to do in '82 and '86. Maybe he hopes people have forgotten about it by now?

Or check this out, in Ohio:

In Ohio, they've gone even further, filing lawsuits against the Secretary of State to keep anyone from voting in-person absentee that registered close to the deadline — as the woman pictured did. [Picture at the top of a Black woman holding a ballot at a polling place] Can't you tell she shouldn't be allowed to vote? Can't you just see it in her face? Ohio law allowed people to vote in-person absentee before the registration deadline and the Secretary of State ruled that ballots not counted until election day weren't votes until Election Day. And — horrors — people that might not have the means to get back to the polls a month after they registered did so. Homeless people! Women at domestic violence shelters! The Ohio told the New York Post that they "smelled a rat" in that, because, you know, increasing voter turnout (which is embarrassingly low in this country) through making it easier for legal but disadvantaged voters to vote is totally shady.

And if anyone's wondering, if I were a Republican I'd be just as pissed off about this, because a few dozen highly-placed crooks with no ethics whatsoever can make all the cool, intelligent people who are filed under the same label look really bad. This is disgusting.



Steve Malley said...

The other day the Tiny Dynamo pulled that 'why bother to vote, they're all jerks' crap on me. I pointed out that, in a country of four million people with viable third parties, she has a real chance to make her voice heard.

If nothing else, you can pick the biggest bunch of lying, cheating, stealing a$$holes and vote against them!

Angie said...

Steve -- hey, whatever works, right? :D

In a country with like three hundred million people and only two viable parties, it's harder to make the same numbers argument here. [wry smile] Still, voting because it pisses off the people who disagree with you, because they don't want you to vote and you can do an In Your Face at them, can still work. It's pretty clear the Republicans don't want me to vote, and even if I hadn't been planning to already, that's a pretty good reason to do it.


Spy Scribbler said...

I live in Ohio. A few times ago, when I voted, it was CRAZY. I wrote about it on my blog, somewhere. And yes, it pisses me off.

Angie said...

SS -- I keep running into stuff like this and I'm continuously boggled. I mean, I'd never think of things like this. Who does? Who sits down and thinks, "Well, this is illegal/unethical, but it just might help us win!" and decides that's a good idea? Just from a pragmatic point of view, this sort of thing tends to get out and then your whole party gets sprayed with sewage.

It's just insane. And I have to wonder how many of the candidates (on either side, because I know the Democrats have done their share of shady campaigning too -- they're just not the ones who need to do it right now) know or approve of this stuff. It's one thing for some party rat whose name isn't known by 99.9% of the American populace to do this sort of thing; unless they actually get arrested, they're probably okay even if they get called out on it. But the politicians trying to get elected have to worry about their reputations; do they approve of what their party machines do to win? :(


laughingwolf said...

more than just disgusting, angie... it's CRIMINAL! grrrrrrrrrr

where the hell is law enforcement?

Angie said...

Laughingwolf -- it is criminal, and I'd love to see law enforcement get involved. I guess when you're a high-level party hack, though, not all the laws apply. [eyeroll] Hey, where have we heard that before, hmm?


writtenwyrdd said...

That is so wrong how the Republicans in particular have jiggered the voting. We all know that the 2000 election shouldn't have been won by W, because the US Supreme Court doesn't have the right to make decisions about state votes. Or that the Republicans have been gerrymandering to a faretheewell for the last decade and bragging about it. I guarantee that half the population doesn't even know what gerrymandering IS, much less how it affects their voting.

Jeez, I really hate election years. They just piss me off. And I always vote absentee and wonder, cynically, if the vote will actually be counted, so I always drop it off at the polls on election day anyhow (which is okay where I live; but for someone not living in Maine it might not.)

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

You know I have heard of this before but it is just shocking to know it still happens. This election is so pivotal and I am on pins and needles. I admit that I'm scared. I want change but I'm not sure the rest of the country is ready for it. And you would be surprised how many minorities are actually republicans!

Angie said...

WW -- my husband and I are voting absentee this year because we'll be on a cruise through November 5. I hope they get counted. :/ I'm not so worried about California going Republican in the presidential race, but on a different issue, the religious right and other conservative types are pouring money into the state from all over the country to push Prop. 8, which will render gay marriage illegal again and nullify the marriages of all the gay couples who've wed in the last few months. :( The vote usually goes to the side with the most money, and Prop. 8 is currently polling to win by a few points, which is a terrible thing. I want to be especially sure our votes are counted for that, where a small number of votes can make a difference.

Ello -- I'm surprised to hear that, considering how overwhelmingly white the party organizers are. There were hardly any brown people at the convention, for example. :/ That's sort of disturbing.

But yes, the vote-jiggering is shocking. It should be a major scandal, and I don't know why it's not. [scowl]


Shauna Roberts said...

Gosh, last time I'd heard, Prop 8 was overwhelmingly opposed! When did that turnaround happen? I've already voted; hope my vote against helps.

A front page story in this morning's Inland Empire's Press-Enterprise was about a Republican group's newsletter in which the group president said that if Obama is elected, his picture will appear on food stamps. A sample of the supposed food stamps is given, showing Obama's head superimposed on a drawing of a donkey and surrounded by a watermelon, ribs, and fried chicken. The president of the group defended her action by saying she did it in retaliation for an oblique remark made by Obama over the summer that suggested he wasn't white. [No, that does not make sense to me, either.)

For the full story, as well as some other examples of outrageous Republican campaigning, see .

Angie said...

Shauna -- a couple of weeks ago, opposition to Prop. 8 was a few points ahead, which was good, yes. But then the groups in favor started running those disgusting commercials, and spreading lies about how Prop. 8 would force gay marriage to be "taught" in schools, and would mean opponents of gay marriage would face lawsuits if they said anything against it, etc., and the polls swung the other way. It's still only by a few points, but that's still enough for a win.

The vote tends to go to the side which spends the most money, unfortunately, whether you're talking about candidates or propositions. The pro-8 faction has had money pouring into California from conservative groups all over the country. They've been outspending us, and that's the bottom line. :(

A sample of the supposed food stamps is given, showing Obama's head superimposed on a drawing of a donkey and surrounded by a watermelon, ribs, and fried chicken. The president of the group defended her action by saying she did it in retaliation for an oblique remark made by Obama over the summer that suggested he wasn't white.

Sooo... because he said he's not white (which shouldn't be news to anyone) that makes it okay to publish racist images? Good grief, what an idiot.